Overview of Arm Reduction Surgery
As we grow older, arm tissue relaxes and descends with gravity and weight loss. The drooping of skin is from a stretching of the anchoring fascial system and loss of supporting fat. The extra sagging can result in significant “loose hammock” like deformity from the underarm to the elbow. Sometimes this becomes so severe that it hangs down, creating a “bats wing deformity”. Treatment for this condition is known as Brachioplasty, an Arm Lift, or Arm Reduction Surgery.
Who is the best Candidate for an Arm Lift/Brachioplasty?
Redundant skin folds can predispose areas to infections of the skin or fungal dermatitis. Excessive redundant folds of skin and fat can also cause difficulty of fitting into clothing, interference with personal hygiene, impaired ambulation as well as psychological concerns of a disfigured appearance. Healthy men and women of all ages with excessive upper arm heaviness are candidates for this surgery, provided their expectations are realistic and that they understand all aspects of this procedure including all risks and complications. Brachioplasty will leave a scar that extends from under the arm to the elbow. This scar will fade with time, however will rarely disappear completely and may be visible in certain types of clothing.
What to Expect
If performed for medical reasons, Arm Reduction can attract medicare rebates. A percentage of your surgeons, anaesthetist and hospital fees may then be claimed from both Medicare and your private health fund if you have cover. You will need a referral from your general practitioner if you wish to claim.
You will be questioned as to your medical history at the time of consultation with your Surgeon. Please remember to mention any medications that you are taking, and if you are a smoker.
Brachioplasty is usually performed on both arms and requires the use of a general anaesthetic. This Surgery can be performed as Day Surgery, or an inpatient stay, of at least one night may be recommended.
The arm lift procedure begins by marking the area of excess skin. An incision is made underneath the arm from near the underarm region extending down to the elbow region and a wedge of skin and fatty tissue is excised with nerves and blood vessels carefully preserved. In some instances, some light feathering with a liposuction cannula is performed to produce a smooth result. The edges of the wound are brought together and then sutured. A drain is inserted adjacent to the wound to collect excess blood and serum that collects in the area over the next few days. A dressing is applied to the arm and is kept intact until removed for observation by nursing staff or surgeon the following day. This scar will fade with time, however will rarely disappear completely and may be visible in certain types of clothing.
All surgery carries inherent risks and complications and it is especially important that you understand and accept these risks prior to proceeding. Our Surgeons are Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeons with considerable experience in this procedure, and all efforts will be taken to ensure that your surgery and road to recovery is problem free. Despite all efforts however, in a small number of patients, complications do occur.
The most common complication following Brachioplasty is infection along the suture line. This is managed by antibiotics, and in some instances you will be given some antibiotic prophylactically to limit the occurrence of this complication. Severe infection may lead to wound breakdown, skin loss and scarring which may require further treatment in the form of debriding or grafting.
Follow-up care and wound checks are performed by our nursing staff at our rooms on a regular basis in the post-operative stage.
You will need to organise a responsible adult carer to take care of you in the first three to seven days following your Surgery. This person will need to take you home from the Hospital and assist you in traveling to and from your nursing appointments as well as assist in your general care at home. You will be unable to drive for up to two weeks following your surgery, and unable to lift for up to one month.
As the days go by, your pain and discomfort as well as swelling will subside. You will be allowed to move your arms more freely. As each case proceeds on its own merit, your surgeon will guide you as to when you may recommence specific activities. Expect to take two to three weeks away from your workplace, or longer if your job involves lifting or raising the arms over your head.
Brachioplasty is a rewarding procedure, giving shape to large and pendulous upper arms,
improving the aesthetic appearance as well as mobility of the arms.